Persephone was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. Persephone was picking flowers one day when Hades saw her. He was so captivated by her beauty that he took her by force to the underworld.
Demeter, goddess of the harvest and fertility searched for her daughter when Persephone went missing. Once she realized Persephone was taken to the underworld, she protested the abduction by stopping her work with the crops. Before this time, food in Greece was always plentiful, but now crops failed and food was scarce. Zeus and the other gods tried to convince Demeter to lift her curse on the land, but she would not until her daughter was released.
Zeus then sent Hermes to Hades urging him to the release Persephone. Hades understood this as a demand that he needed to follow. Before releasing her, Hades had her eat seeds of the pomegranate. Because she ate fruit from the underworld she was now tied to the underworld and to Hades.
Zeus was forced to make a compromise between Demeter and Hades in their claims to Persephone. He arranged a plan for Persephone to spend four months with Hades as his queen, one for every seed of the pomegranate she had eaten. The other eight months she would return to her mother. Demeter continued to allow the crops to fail when Persephone was with Hades. This myth of Persephone was used by the Greeks to explain the cycle of fertility in nature.
The Rape of Proserpina by Bernini - Galleria Borghese, Rome
Major Gods and Goddesses
Apollo | Ares | Artemis | Athena
| Demeter | Dionysus
Hades | Hephaestus | Hera | Hermes | Hestia | Poseidon | Zeus
Achilles | Aeneas | Diomedes | Hector | Hercules | Jason | Odysseus | Perseus | Theseus
Introduction | Creation Story | Olympians VS. Titans | Creation of Man | Revolt of Giants
Abduction of Persephone | The Underworld | Visitors to Underworld | Amzon Warriors
Ares vs. Athena | Daedalus and Icarus | Echo and Narcissus | Judgement of Paris
Perseus and Andromeda | Trojan War
Original Sources of Greek-Roman Mythology
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